February 21, 2007

Contact: Peter Barney, 315-379-9192; Mike Hunter, 315-788-8450

Growing Teff: Will an Ethiopian Crop Grow in NNY? Learn the Answer at March 14-15 Crop Congresses

Farmers attending the 11th annual Crop Congresses on Wednesday, March 14 in Carthage and Thursday, March 15 in Canton will hear about the latest Northern New York field crop research. Cornell Cooperative Extension field crop educators Peter M. Barney of St. Lawrence County and Michael E. Hunter of Jefferson County will share data from 2006 field trials for such crops as teff.

Trials of teff on farms in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties show that the warm season grass native to Ethiopia has promise as a new forage crop here. In 2005, teff emerged in four days after planting and a crop was harvested in about 50 days. Teff can be grazed, baled as hay and ensiled for livestock. It is also harvested as grain for bread and flour. In the Pacific Northwest, baled teff has been popular with horse owners and is grown as a crop for that market.

“Teff is a crop that adapts to both dry and wet growing conditions and looks to have potential as an annual cover crop in the North Country,” Hunter says. “Teff has the potential to fit nicely into a crop rotation that has a summertime open space window that may be too short for the profitable production of most other summer annual forage crops.”

“The Crop Congresses give us the opportunity to share our second year data on seeding methods and the nitrogen needs of teff,” Barney says. “Two years of trials show that teff yields can rival the average New York State grass hay dry matter yields and produce high quality forage with higher nutritive values.”

Teff can be grown using commercial fertilizer or with manure alone. The teff research in NNY has been made possible through a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant. The 2006 trials evaluated nitrogen rates. Hunter and Barney will share the results of the 2006 testing at the March meetings.

Other speakers at the March 14-15 programs include Cornell University crop and soil science researchers Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings, talking about the latest Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP)-funded research on the nitrogen needs of a first-year corn crop planted after sod; Dr. William J. Cox, presenting the results of NNYADP-funded field testing of 42 varieties of corn on North Country farms in 2006; and Dr. Russell Hahn, speaking on weed control strategies for corn growers.

The fee for the 10 am to 3 pm program is $15 before March 9; $20 after March 9. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Pesticide credits and Certified Crop Advisor credits have been applied for. To qualify for credits, farmers must arrive on time and stay through the entire program. To register for the Crop Congress at the Carthage Elks Club, call 315-788-8450. To register for the Crop Congress at the Canton Best Western University Inn, call 315-379-9192. # #